DIY Tutorial: Chalkboard labels for playroom storage

A few months ago, I posted about my basement playroom.  As promised, up today is a long overdue tutorial on how to make the super easy and super cute DIY chalkboard labels that I use to keep the kids' toys neatly sorted and organized.  

I was inspired to create these by something I saw in Pottery Barn Kids.  I loved those chalkboard labels because they seemed so perfect for my needs, especially because I could easily switch out the contents of the bins and simply erase the label and rewrite the new contents with chalk.  However, I did not like the cost: at 2 for $8, for about 14 bins plus shipping ... it came to well over $50.  I decided to DIY it instead.  Here's the scoop:

For the labels, you will need thin wooden rectangles (or ovals, squares, whatever shape you like) from Michael's, chalkboard paint, and heavy duty Velcro (I also had red fabric Cubicals from Target).  The first step is to paint the wood pieces. I bought chalkboard paint in a spray can -- so much easier!  It takes about two coats to cover the wood completely.  Once the paint dries, cut the Velcro to fit the size of the wood pieces - cut both pieces at once: the part that sticks to the wood label and the part that sticks to the thing you're adhering the label to.  

Then press the wood label onto the front of your bin and it's done!  Describe the contents with chalk. 

You can also do this with baskets, like the IKEA baskets I have in my shelving.  The difference here: I took a drill and made tiny holes in the top of the wood and then used some twine to tie the label to the basket.

Voila!  Super easy and cheap! The total cost for my labels was about $10: I found the wood pieces on sale for about .25 each, and used a coupon at Michael's for the Velcro and the chalkboard paint (and there is plenty of paint and Velcro left over for future projects).  Here are the baskets in their organized glory:

I find the system incredibly helpful and easy to keep a handle on.  Plus, now that my son is reading, he can find the appropriate bin for his toys when he's done playing.  Win-win.  

Need any organizing help or tips?  Let us know! 

See you swoon,


  1. I SO need to do this in my playroom!

  2. Go for it! It's really quick and easy. And they make chalkboard paints in so many different colors too!

  3. CUTE! I love chalkboard paint! I think I'll try this in Anders' room- he has bins for his socks and underwear and this will be perfect. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Love this idea! Totally going to do it! Thinking of all the different places I could do it..ha! Thanks for sharing-

  5. Thanks everyone! If you try it please share pictures!

  6. I was just searching for some way to label my son's toy bins from Target that was durable, cute, and flexible (allowing for category changes for the different bins). I love this! My only concern is my 1 year old daughter removing the tags as a game. that better or worse than her trying to remove something that I've actually affixed to the container?

    In any case, great idea!

  7. Hi Jenny,
    Thanks for checking out our blog! I used a pretty wide Velcro and it's pretty hard to remove the labels from the bin. That stuff is pretty strong. If you try it, please send pix and let us know how it went! We'd love to hear!